3 January 2011
During the course of 2010, "civil service" almost became a dirty word in the Cayman Islands.
It's true that this newspaper has at times taken a harsh stance against what we feel is a civil service that is too large and not willing to take its share of the pain from the government budget crisis. We've also expressed our displeasure at the number of pay raises given to civil servants after the elected government announced that there would be pay cuts.
In addition, there have been many in the community who have said Cayman's Civil Service is under-worked and overpaid.
All of this had to affect the morale of the Civil Service.
However, there have been Civil Service successes over the past year, and they should not go unnoticed.
People might think we wanted to see Deputy Chief Secretary Franz Manderson's head roll with one of our recent editorials, but the truth is we feel Mr. Manderson is one of the hardest working, most effective civil servant managers in the Cayman Islands. The efficiencies he's put in place in the Immigration Department and in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs are the kind of thing we'd like to see throughout the public sector.
Another success story is the The Department of Vehicle and Drivers' Licensing. The subject of a fairly harsh Complaints Commissioner's report in 2005 because of its service standard, the Department of Vehicle and Drivers' Licensing is setting a customer service standard in the Cayman Islands these days.
Aided by a new and modern facility, customers now get timely, efficient and friendly service at the Department.
The welcome improvements are quite evident to anyone who had to stand in line at Immigration or the Department of Vehicle and Drivers' Licensing five years ago. They aren't the only Civil Service departments that have shown great improvement over the past five year, either. What this should show is that with the proper technology, training and management, civil servants can excel. What we need going forward is for more Civil Service department heads to show a similar commitment to excellence.